"Committed to the restoration of wild Pacific salmon in mid Vancouver
Island watersheds through habitat restoration and community engagement"
"Committed to the restoration of wild Pacific salmon in mid Vancouver
Island watersheds through habitat restoration and community engagement"

Restoring the Esturary

dykeremoval1

 

 

In an effort to return the Englishman River Estuary to a more natural state, the Nature Trust, who has ownership of the estuary lands, removed a man-made dyke that separated part of the estuary from ocean tidal flows.

 

 

  

ERestuarydyke

 

 

Approximately 3000 m3 of gravel dyke material were excavated in early August, resulting in the removal of a 100 m long barrier (in red) to tidal flows.

 

 

 

 

 

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Channels were dug through the remaining native soil to further enhance flow in and out of the estuary.

 

 

 

 

  

 

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Two truckloads of large woody debris, and crab apple trees removed during the excavation, have been strategically placed to provide shade and cover to fish and other marine species. 

 

 

 

 

Some sections of the trails that intersect the estuary will be reconfigured to reduce impact by human traffic. The old look out is being replaced with lookouts in two new locations that will provide expansive views of the estuary, perfect for bird watching. This is just the first phase of the work planned for the estuary over the next few years. The Englishman River Estuary is on its way to beoming a more naturally functioning ecosystem.

To learn more about this project and MVIHES involvement, click here.

Fish Rescue in Shelly Creek

As you know, a water main is being installed along the E&N rail line to connect the new water intake in the Englishman River to an above ground storage resevoir in Springwood Park. The E&N rail line crosses Shelly Creek near the intersection of Wildgreen Way and Butler Ave. Improvements must be made to the Shelly Creek culvert at the E&N crossing so it can support the pipe. Before work can be done on the culvert, all fish in the vicinity of the culvert must be captured and moved to a safe location within Shelly Creek.

frysalvagemapAround June 20, MIVHES was informed that the biological consultants working for the City had moved 12 adult Cutthroat Trout to a location in the creek below Blower Rd. Unknown to the consultants was that this section of the creek dries up in summer. MVIHES notified the City and the consultants moved the fish up into pools in the Corfield Park which contain water year round and already support a small Cutthroat Trout population.

isolated pool with stranded fish

 

 

In the meantime, two of our intrepid volunteers, Dick Dobler and Pete Law, held a search party of their own to see if more fish needed re-locating from the culvert site. And indeed there were.

 

 

Cutthroat Trout fry

 

Between June 21 and June 26, using a combination of minnow trapping and pole seining in a section between 100 m upstream of the crossing and 50 m downstream of the crossing, they captured 3 Cutthroat adults and parrs, and 5 Cutthroat fry. All of the fish were found in isolated pools that were drying up fast with no flow between them, like the one above.

 

 

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The fish were released in the pools in Corfield Park to join their Cutthroat family. Home Sweet Home

 

Sign Up For Our Activities

Are you interested in beach seining or vegetation monitoring at the Englishman River Estuary? Or are you interested in helping us raise funds as one of our Gate Keepers at Beach Fest? Then sign up and join the fun on our

Volunteer Signup Spot

DirtyShelley

Beach Seining in the Englishman River Estuary

beachseining2MVIHES is conducting a beach seining study this summer in the Englishman River Estuary as part of a project with the Nature Trust. Thanks to the Nature Trust, one of the man-made dykes in the estuary is being removed. Why you ask? That's a very good question.

The estuary is a place where tidal waters from the ocean move up into the Englishman River, and river water flows out to the ocean. This mixing of salt and freshwater that changes four times daily with the tide, creates a multitude of habitats that support a wide variety of unique plants, animals, birds, and insects. The estuary serves as a nursery area for several species of salmon. 

ERestuarydyke

The construction of the dyke in 1969 isolated the western portion of the estuary, apparently to prevent tidal intrusion and reclaim the land from the sea. In 1979, the dyke was breached and the gap was spanned by a bridge. This reopened the western part of the estuary to the influences of tide and salt water and with them came the fish and the estuarine marsh plants. The bridge has since been removed and the gap widened. However, the remaining stretch of dyke (in red) still impedes the original estuarine flow into the western portion of the estuary, so is being removed.

beachseining5The Nature Trust plans to monitor the changes that occur in the western portion after the dyke is removed. That's where MVIHES and the Arrowsmith Naturalists come in. We are identifying and counting the fish that we capture during beach seining to determine if the numbers and species of fish change after removal of the dyke. The Arrowsmith Naturalists are monitoring vegetation in the western portion to determine what changes occur in the vegetation.

MVIHES completed a comprehensive Bio-inventory of the estuary in 2008. The sites beachseining6where beach seining occurred during the bio-inventory are being used in this year's study, so not only can we compare results from before and after the dyke is removed, we can also compare with the results in the bio-inventory.

 Come on out and join the fun, learn to identify the different fish species, and know you are collecting some valuable information that can be used in future estuary land management.

 

Groundwater and the Englishman River

 

Between Englishman River Falls and the Hatchery, the flow in the river drops by approximately 6%; this suggests the Englishman River loses water, thus recharging the fractured bedrock aquifer. 

 Most of the bedrock wells depict a stable groundwater elevation trend; however, there are two wells where a decreasing trend and one well where an increasing trend has been observed. 

To learn more  check out the report  Groundwater - Surface Water Interaction in the Englishman River - Project Update                                            

 

 

 

 

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